Why Would Seattle Even Want A Rivalry With The Timbers?

I know I'm likely in the minority in this, at least among more active fans of the Sounders, and it's likely to be a controversial opinion, but I really don't feel any sort of rivalry with the Timbers and I'm not sure why I'd even want to.

Much has been made of the billboard that's been put up in SoDo essentially trolling Sounders fans. Sounders ex-pat Jose Romero thinks we should 'score this round for the Timbers'. But I'm not sure what it's a round of, why spending a couple grand on a billboard is such a great achievement, and why any Sounders fan should care what the Timbers think.

FC Barcelona theoretically has a regional rivalry with Espanyol. But if you ask any Barcelona fan, they'll tell you they don't give half a flying fig for Espanyol. They have eyes only for Real Madrid. Why? Among other things, Espanyol is not a serious competitor to Barca in any competition. It's a rivalry that benefits Espanyol, but is mostly an afterthought to Barcelona.

Sounders FC in its first year of MLS existence blew away the record for annual attendance. And they're going to break their own record this year. They won the US Open Cup in their first year as an MLS franchise, the third consecutive year they'd made it to at least the semifinals as the Sounders. And they're preparing to play a final to defend their Cup. They made the MLS playoffs as an expansion team and are in the hunt to make the playoffs again. They are currently representing the US in the CCL, the highest level of international club soccer in our Confederation.

Historically, the Sounders made two NASL finals (mm, the SoccerBowl), losing to the Cosmos twice. They failed to make the playoffs only 3 NASL seasons. They were champions twice in the A League (in 95 and 96) and twice in the USL1 ('05 and '07). Seattle has been a dominant franchise in every league it's competed in.

The Timbers have done exactly nothing. They made the NASL final in 1975, when they christened themselves 'Soccer City USA' and they've been living off of that paltry glory for 35 years and counting. They only made it to the NASL playoffs three more times and past the first round only once. They never made an A League final. They never made a USL1 final. They have never won the Open Cup. They have never even made the final. They have never competed in a continental competition of any kind. They have been a competitive but ultimately disappointing franchise in every league that they've competed in.

I can't stress this enough, because it underlies the whole argument: The Portland Timbers have never won a championship in anything. Go ahead, look at their Wikipedia page. These are their 'honors': the Western division in the A-League in 2004 and the regular season points total in the USL last year when the Sounders weren't in the league. Congrats for that.

What good does hyping this 'rivalry' do for the Sounders? Drive up attendance? We sell out every game anyway. Fill every message board thread with trolls who think 'Portscum' and 'Seaturd' are original and brilliant? No thanks. There's no upside. This is all to Portland's benefit and I'm not sure why any Sounders fan would bother. They're the Espanyol of this 'rivalry'. It benefits only them, while it serves as nothing more than a distraction to the Sounders.

If you really want to get their goat, ignore them. It's what they've earned. If you really, really want a rivalry, consider building one with the Timbers' PDL team. They're actually pretty good.

(crossposted to Seattle Soccer Scene)

Edit: the one page document version

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